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Finding relief from menopause symptoms with CBD

Finding relief from menopause symptoms with CBD

Menopause is a natural part of a woman's life, but it can bring a host of uncomfortable symptoms that can disrupt the enjoyment of daily life. While one in four women are fortunate enough to glide through menopause almost symptom-free, another one in four experience severe symptoms which can have a profound impact on their day-to-day life and on their relationships. Anxiety, mood swings, hot flushes and insomnia are just a handful of the common symptoms experienced during menopause, but draw in the perimenopause and post-menopause phases, and that list extends to 48 symptoms (and counting). 

While hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is used by many to alleviate symptoms, it may not be the best fit for everyone due to certain medical conditions, medications or unwanted side effects. Some women find that HRT alone is not enough and additional support is needed, while other women choose to seek out alternative, less-synthetic therapies for their symptom relief. As a result, many women are exploring remedies such as CBD to use for natural menopause symptom relief.

How does CBD work for menopause symptoms?

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive compound found in the hemp plant which has gained popularity in recent years for its potential therapeutic benefits. There is mounting clinical evidence to support the anecdotal reports that CBD offers meaningful value for easing and alleviating many menopausal symptoms, in particular anxiety, irritability, insomnia, muscle and joint pain, and inflammation. Thanks to modern research capabilities and fewer regulatory restrictions in the clinical study of these compounds, we have a more complete understanding of how and why CBD works so effectively.

Just like the hemp plant contains cannabinoids, the human body has its own natural system of cannabinoids and receptors called the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). This complex cell-signalling network, identified just 30 years ago, is a collection of cell receptors, neurotransmitters and enzymes found in the brain, organs and other body tissues. It acts as an intricate messaging system that governs and regulates many of the body’s most critical functions, including mood, sleep, and pain sensation. When cannabinoids from hemp (phytocannabinoids, aka CBD) are introduced alongside the ECS, they work in symbiosis to enhance our natural biology, nurture homeostasis, and promote optimal health.  

During menopause, there is a decline in the levels of oestrogen and progesterone, two hormones that play a crucial role in regulating the endocannabinoid system (ECS). As a phytocannabinoid, CBD has been found to mimic the effects of endocannabinoids.  It is through this interaction with the ECS that CBD gets to work; by enhancing the ECS, CBD can help to inhibit the breakdown of our natural endocannabinoids, thereby reducing the depletive effects that normally occur during perimenopause and menopause. This reinforcing effect of CBD on the regulation of our ECS helps to restore balance, regulate mood, reduce pain and inflammation, improve sleep and reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes in menopausal women. 

What about the research?

Whilst clinical research continues into a wide range of potential uses of CBD, there is already promising evidence to support its use for the alleviation of many menopause symptoms including anxiety, mood swings, insomnia, muscle and joint pain, and inflammation. A number of studies such as those published in 2015 the Journal of Psychopharmacology and 2019 found evidence from human studies to strongly support the potential for CBD as a treatment for anxiety and sleep disorders. 

Several studies have suggested that CBD may have analgesic (pain-relieving) and anti-inflammatory properties, making it potentially beneficial for managing muscle and joint pain. A 2015 review, published in the journal Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry, reviewed preclinical and clinical studies on cannabinoids for pain management. The authors concluded that CBD showed potential for treating various types of pain, including muscle and joint pain.

A preclinical study published in Frontiers in Pharmacology investigated the potential of CBD on oestrogen deficiency with results showing improvements in gut and bone health, as well as a lower rate of inflammation when compared to the placebo group. Whilst data from human trials is much needed to further our understanding of the role CBD could play in reducing symptoms of oestrogen deficiency, Diana Roopchand, an assistant professor in the Department of Food Science of the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, says  “this preclinical study is the first to suggest the therapeutic potential of CBD for alleviating symptoms of oestrogen deficiency”. 

Though more research is desired and needed to fully understand the effectiveness of CBD for menopause symptoms, promising stage 2 trials are emerging offering hope for those seeking alternative options for symptom relief. However, it may take some time before a large enough patient community can be established for a multi-decade CBD clinical study to be completed.  Nevertheless, humans have been using cannabinoids for medicinal and therapeutic purposes for millennia, even Queen Victoria used it as a natural remedy to treat menstrual cramps. Today we can take further reassurance from a World Health Organisation report stating that CBD carries no potential for misuse, harm, or side effects, making it an attractive, safe option for balancing health and well-being.

The bottom line

If you are considering incorporating CBD into your routine, it is always important to do your due diligence. Speak to your doctor first, particularly if you are taking other medications, and be selective about your products. Quality is essential, so check for published lab reports. Certificates of Analysis (COA), which must be carried out by independent third-party labs, ensure purity and potency, offering a reliable indication of quality assurance. By staying informed and taking these precautions, women can discover whether CBD is a reliable solution and could provide natural relief for their symptoms and, in turn, they can help drive awareness of the benefits among the menopausal community and future generations to come.


1. Blessing EM, Steenkamp MM, Manzanares J, Marmar CR. Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders. Neurotherapeutics. 2015 Oct; 12(4):825-36. doi: 10.1007/s13311-015-0387-1. PMID: 26341731; PMCID: PMC4604171.

2. Shannon S, Lewis N, Lee H, Hughes S. Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. Perm J. 2019;23:18-041. doi: 10.7812/TPP/18-041. PMID: 30624194; PMCID: PMC6326553.

3. Burstein, Sumner. Cannabidiol (CBD) and its analogs: A Review of their Effects on Inflammation. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry 2015; 23 10.1016/j.bmc.2015.01.059 

4. Ke Su et al. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 21 June 2022. Sec. Integrative and Regenerative Pharmacology Volume 13.

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